THE arrival of the new Joint Strike Fighter planes at Williamtown has taken another step forward, after the Department of Environment gave the green light to the project.
From 2018 Williamtown RAAF base, along with Tindal in the Northern Territory, is expected to begin housing 72 new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter planes.
Officer Commanding 81 Wing, Group Captain Phil Gordon, said Air Force welcomed the approval.
“The development of the Environmental Impact Statement is an important process and supports Defence’s honest and open approach to addressing aircraft noise and other environmental considerations for communities living near Air Force bases,” he said.
Paterson MP Bob Baldwin welcomed the approval, calling it a ‘‘major milestone’’.
“This approval means the Royal Australian Air Force will continue to play the
important role in our community it has since the late 1930s,’’ he said.
“RAAF Base Williamtown will remain the nation’s main fighter pilot training base and will
house most of the planned F-35A Lightning II aircraft.
“This is good news for Paterson because the Base makes a major contribution to our local
community, directly employing 3500 people, bringing in $280 million.
“The 2000 members of the Royal Australian Air Force, their families and the supporting
civilian workforce will continue to live here in our community, send their kids to local
schools and play in local sporting teams.’’
The Final EIS was approved with four core conditions. They include requirements to implement aircraft noise management plans in accordance with the RAAF Aircraft Noise Management Strategy as well as ongoing monitoring and public reporting of aircraft noise measurements around F-35A operating bases.